Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sweeny Todd, The New Face of Evil

There is a new face of Horror and its name is Todd. Sweeny Todd. Move over Freddy, to the back of the line Jason, Hannibal Lecter you have been out classed because Mr. Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is open for business.

I just exited a screening of the movie musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and I have not been this excited, musically fulfilled, visually amazed and satisfied with acting performances since the movie musical Chicago. But, here is the difference between then and now, the Johnny Depp factor, by far the best actor in the business and every industry awards ceremony need to pay homage to this thespian. The actors actor, he not only became the role of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, a wrongly accused, victimized man of tragic and vicious circumstances which was the catalyst by which the kids of today would call, “A Bloody Mess”, he became part of the background and foreground of this frightening and macabre version of Victorian London filmed so well, one would think you were on a rollercoaster ride into Dante’s Inferno. The visual effects of Sweeny Todd touched by one of best, if not the darkest screen directors in the business, Tim Burton. The creative marriage between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton is to date on par with that of Martin Scorsese and Al Pacino or Leonardo DiCaprio, simply magic.

In the beginning of Todd we are touched by the thinly and timid vocals of Jamie Campbell a.k.a. Anthony Hope, within the name, its played dramatically against the lack of light that permeated the dark London landscape. He is soon over shadowed by the even darker Todd with only one thing on his mind, “Bloody Vengeance” thus marking the arrival of the new face of evil. And we all loved it.

Unlike past movie musicals there were no big choreographed dance scenes and booming vocals that stood out among all others, every voice, like every character, blended into the overall story and lifted ever so slightly enough brightness to cast longer shadows in the background which hid even deeper horrors for the audience to find out. And what we found out were that those things hiding in the shadows were all the things we secretly want to do, the immorality things we think about and covert in the recesses of out mind. Sweeny Todd allowed us all the release with sinister giggles that gave slight pause and played havoc with our conscious mind. Johnny Depp and Sweeny Todd was a master at helping the audience to go to that place with joy and glee. With the help of Helena Bonham Carter a.k.a Mrs. Lovett owner of Mrs. Lovett's Meat Pie Shop, a restaurant that would give any Health Department nightmares, partners with Todd in his dark descent into a Bloody Hell for vengeance for Alan Rickman’s character and the focus of Todd dark passions, Judge Turpin. Truly Depp channeled the misfortunes of the genius gone mad such Edgar Allen Poe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Van Gogh, mix that with serial murder tendencies and you have the perfect Monster. The new face of Evil sits at the top of the list.

Now I did notice that there were three major actors that seemed were commandeered from another very popular film franchise, Harry Potter, but I did not mind the actors’ past relationship because you never want to fix what isn’t broken. Carter, Rickman and Timothy Spall who played Judge Turpin’s gentleman assistant; Beadle Bamford was a pleasant surprise and like puzzles, they were the pieces that completed the big picture .

In the triad of talent I could not escape the fact that they were all together in that other popular film and will all be needed again to reprise their characters when the young talent Ed Sanders a.k.a Toby, the youth who because of deadly circumstance executed by Todd becomes part of this sinister partnership with Mrs. Lovett caught mt attention. His bright youthfulness in the beginning soon become sucked grey yet his vocal talents and presence stand ladders above his age and is equal to the work invested overall to Todd. A first timer to a movie of this size and scope, Hollywood should seriously consider Ed Sanders for the lead on that other film that Carter, Rickman and Timothy Spall are attached to as a worthy replacement in the Potter series.

There were other standouts on Todd such as Sacha Baron Cohen a.k.a. Signor Adolfo Pirlli (we all know him from Borat), Jayne Wisener a.k.a. Johanna and Laura Michelle Kelly who played the duel characters of Lucy and the Beggar Woman play vivid and bright roles which kept the totality of Sweeny Todd from falling too deep into a black hole or sorrow but the true driver of this rollercoaster through Hell was Johnny Depp. We got on, we were all locked into place and we screamed, laughed and cried our way to the end and People, I want to ride this ride again.

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